Category Archives: Events

Welcome Baltimore Museum Friends

Members of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Print, Drawing & Photograph Society (PDPS) traveled to Princeton on Saturday to visit our campus and collections. (Sorry we missed a few for the group picture above.) Treasures were pulled from the Princeton University Art Museum’s Prints and Drawings; the East Asian Library and the Gest Collection; and the Graphic Arts Collection.

Special thanks go to Rena Hoisington, Curator and Department Head, for her wonderful planning, and to Jay Fisher, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs; Ann Shafer, Associate Curator; and Morgan Dowty, Curatorial Assistant.

https://artbma.org/documents/pdps/PDPS-Newsletter_2-29-16.pdf

There are only a few more weeks left to see their exhibition: Off the Shelf: Modern & Contemporary Artists’ Books, closing June 25, 2017. The show presents more than 130 rarely shown artists’ books and related prints by more than 50 renowned artists, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Grace Hartigan, David Hockney, and Ed Ruscha. Stephen King, Frank O’Hara, and Robert Creeley are among the more than 30 authors represented.

For more information about exhibitions, programs, courses, and resources on artists’ books in the Greater Baltimore region, visit Book Arts Baltimore.

Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Highlights

On Friday, May 5, Martin Heijdra, Director of the East Asian Library and Setsuko Noguchi, Japanese Studies Librarian in the East Asian Library presented a general introduction to the rare books in the East Asian Collections for students, faculty, and staff.  They welcomed special requests and tried to select titles based upon the audience. New Japanese acquisitions were a particular focus.

 

Martin Heijdra showed an early example of four color printing.

Setsuko Noguchi shared the epic multi-volume Heike Monogatari (The Tale of the Heike) with elaborate gold endpapers and illumination.

 

We were given a small clue to identifying Korean, Chinese, and Japanese books. The Korean, on the bottom, often has five equidistant holes sewn around the spine. The Chinese book, in the middle, often has four hole sewing at uneven intervals. The Japanese volume at the top is stab sewn through four equidistant holes.

 

Learn the history of silver mining in Japan told through an elegant Japanese scroll.

 

This working manuscript for Pei wen yun fu is dated between 1662 and 1722 (and might be called a Chinese Webster’s Dictionary).

 

Shaka Hasso Monogatari (The Eight Lives of the Buddha) with the original woodblock for two leaves, image and text. The block is double-sided with another image and text printed from the verso.

 

 

Pacho Velez, Princeton Arts Fellow

Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush all wave to the press corps. Film still from “The Reagan Show.”

This coming weekend offers two chances to see the new documentary The Reagan Show by Pacho Velez, 2015-17 Princeton Arts Fellow http://arts.princeton.edu/people/profiles/pvelez/ and Sierra Pettengill at the Montclair Film Festival. http://montclairfilmfest.org/events/the-reagan-show/

According to the festival site, Velez and Pettengil “mine the past for contemporary relevance and come up trumps in The Reagan Show, a film about a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. It uses the Reagan administration’s internal documentation to capture the spectacle of American might at its acme, exploring the relationship between the media and those in power as they participate in the collaborative act of image making. Told entirely through a largely unseen trove of archival footage, the film captures the pageantry, pathos, and charisma that followed the original performer/president from Hollywood to the nation’s capital.”

Thanks to the success of the project at the Tribeca Film Festival “Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American theatrical and streaming rights to The Reagan Show, with CNN Films landing North American broadcast rights… The pic will hit theaters June 30, with a July 4 VOD bow to follow. CNN will air the docu after those windows.”

Pacho Velez works at the intersection of ethnography, contemporary art, and political documentary. His last film, Manakamana (co-directed with Stephanie Spray) won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. It played around the world, including at the Whitney Biennial and the Toronto International Film Festival. His earlier film and theater work have been presented at venues such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, and on Japanese National Television.

Pacho Velez – Princeton Arts Fellow from Lewis Center for the Arts on Vimeo.

http://www.pachoworks.com/the-reagan-years-in-production/

A Yellow Pencil Award

Last fall, six postage stamps were issued by the Royal Mail in Great Britain to mark the centenary of Agatha Christie’s first crime novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. They also marked the 40th anniversary of her death. http://www.royalmail.com/agathachristiestamps

 

 

Last week, the stamps were awarded a distinguished Yellow Pencil from the D&AD in a London ceremony. https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-awards/

 

The winning agency, Studio Sutherl&, were challenged to design a stamp equal to Christie’s mystery career and so art director Jim Sutherland and illustrator Neil Webb created stamps with hidden secrets in the form of microtext, UV ink, and thermochromic ink. Using a magnifying glass or UV light or body heat, these clues are revealed to help answer each book’s mystery.

The Special Stamps depict key scenes and principal characters from six iconic novels:
Murder on the Orient Express; The Mysterious Affair at Styles; The Body in the Library; And Then There Were None; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; and A Murder is Announced.

Studio Sutherl& was the most awarded design agency this year, winning eight Pencils overall, including two Yellow, one for its work creating limited edition Agatha Christie stamps for Royal Mail and another for its work with the book Somos Brasil. http://studio-sutherland.co.uk/

Agatha Christie (1890-1976), Curtain & The mysterious affair at Styles (New York: Dodd, Mead, c1975). Firestone PR6005.H66 xC8 1975

Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture

The Gillett G. Griffin Memorial Lecture Series is being established in honor of our former colleague Gillett Good Griffin (1942-2016), who served as graphic arts curator within Rare Books and Special Collections from 1952 to 1966. Although officially the collection’s second curator, he was the first to establish a place for the graphic arts collection inside Firestone Library, along with galleries and study rooms where students were regularly and warmly welcomed. Gillett’s passion for collecting began almost 70 years ago while he was a student at Yale University School of Art. His personal collection of Japanese prints, for instance, was begun as an undergraduate and later, when Gillett generously donated them to Princeton University Library, formed the basis for the department’s collection.

When we received the sad news of Gillett’s passing in June 2016, we wanted to find a way to not only commemorate the man but also his passion for bringing objects in the collection directly to the public and the public to the collection. To that end, we decided to select one of the great treasures acquired by Gillett for an in-depth investigation presented in a public memorial lecture.

In 2017, the inaugural lecture will be delivered by Dr. Sara Stevenson, former chief curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. For 36 years, Dr. Stevenson was responsible for building and developing the Scottish National Photography Collection and she continues to publish, her most recent publication entitled: Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years. Her lecture, “The London Circle: Early Explorations of Photography,” will highlight the Richard Willats album of early paper photography purchased for the graphic arts collection by Gillett.

The lecture will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 3:00 in the Friends Center followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Fine Press Book Fair

Despite the cold weather, a large crowd showed up for the 4th annual Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair on Saturday, March 11, in the basement of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer.

Exhibitors included Abecedarian Gallery, Denver, CO; Alice Austin, Philadelphia, PA; Booklyn, Brooklyn, NY; Ken Botnick, St. Louis, MO; Bridge Press, Westmoreland, NH; Caliban Press, Canton, NY; Center for Book Arts, New York, NY; Gerald W. Cloud Rare Books, SF, CA; Edition Schwarze Seite, Scheer/Donau, Germany; Furious Day Press, New York, NY; Leslie Gerry Editions, Gloucestershire, UK; Harsimus Press, Jersey City, NJ; Intima Press, New York, NY; Lead Graffiti, Newark, DE; Leopard Studio Editions, Rochester, NY; Nancy Loeber, Brooklyn, NY; Luminice Press, Philadelphia, PA; Russell Maret, New York, NY; Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, WI; Mixolydian Editions, Petaluma, CA; Sarah Nicholls, Brooklyn, NY; Olchef Press, Newark, NJ; Otter Bookbinding, Woking, Surrey, UK; Pied Oxen Printers, Hopewell, NJ; Sarah Plimpton, New York, NY; Purgatory Pie Press, New York, NY; Robin Price Publisher, Middletown, CT; Maria Veronica San Martin, Brooklyn, NY and Santiago, Chile; Shanty Bay Press, Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada; Sherwin Beach Press, Chicago, IL; Swamp Press, Northfield, MA; Tideline Press, West Sayville, NY; Traffic Street Press, New York, NY; Two Ponds Press, Rockport, ME; University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and Whittington Press, Gloucestershire, UK.

Ephemera collectors came early and stayed late, browsing through the bins.

Material varied enormously from old to new, small to large, unique and mass produced.



Enjoy the last day of the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory.

Natural History Illustration

The 76 students enrolled in ART 345/HUM 345 “Art and Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century” taught by Dr. Bridget A. Alsdorf and Dr. Rachael Z. DeLue are visiting RBSC this week. Their focus is natural history and natural history illustration from the 16th to 20th century.

 

On view are:
Conrad Gessner, Historiae animalium (Tiguri: C. Froschoverum, 1551-87), RBSC Oversize QL41.G37f

Mark Catesby, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects and Plants, volume 1 (London: Charles Marsh, 1754), RBSC Oversize QH41.C292e

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur (Leipzig und Wien: Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, 1904), RBSC Oversize 2007-0290Q

John James Audubon, The Birds of America: from original drawings by John James Audubon … (London: Pub. by the author, 1827-38). RBSC Oversize EX 8880.134.11; along with an Audubon rifle and one double-elephant printing plate.



The student are viewing animals, both real and imagined, miniature and life-size, through woodcuts, etchings, aquatints, and  lithographs. Don’t miss the gentlemen cooking their dinner inside the creature at the bottom of this post.

ARLIS/NA Statement on Proposals to Eliminate Funding for the NEA, NEH, and IMLS

On Tuesday, February 6, 2017, the Art Libraries Society of North America released this statement:

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) believes that lives are enriched by engagement with the visual arts, design, and cultural heritage. As the leading art information organization, the Society strongly opposes the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

In January, articles from The Hill reported that then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his team were considering the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). During the early part of 2017, the President and his staff will draft a budget that is reportedly based largely on the report A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America prepared by the Republican Study Committee and that recommends the following cuts to the federal budget:

“The federal government should not be in the business of funding the arts. Support for the arts can easily and more properly be found from non-governmental sources. Eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would save taxpayers $148 million per year and eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities would save an additional $148 million per year.” (Pg. 96)
“The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provides grants to local museums and libraries, a task that can be better handled by the private sector and local governments. Eliminating the IMLS would save $230 million per year.” (Pg. 97)

Each year, the arts create $135 billion in economic activity, employing over 4 million Americans, and totaling $86 billion in household income. Additionally, funding for arts organizations comprises a tiny fraction of the overall Federal budget (approximately .02 percent). Libraries and museums have a significant impact on the economic, social and cultural environment of communities by promoting life-long learning, creative expression, and access to a wealth of information, programs and services. Numerous institutions where ARLIS/NA members work have been or are currently funded by at least one, if not all three of these federal agencies. Without this funding, the nation’s libraries, museums, and arts and humanities centers cannot provide the critical support needed for research and education.

These proposed budget cuts would cause serious obstructions to creative expression, cultural enrichment, life-long learning, and a threat to the growth of the creative economy. For these reasons, ARLIS/NA opposes the proposed defunding and eradication of the NEA, NEH, and IMLS.

When was cheap at its height?

Just a quick note:

In response to a recent call for papers concerning quick, cheap printing in the United States, I did a Google Ngram search on the word cheap (and other synonyms). It was necessary to limit this to pre-1900 because the concept explodes in the early 20th century. Here’s the result.

It is curious that a bargain overtakes cheap in the 1790s and the 1820s. It looks like 1761 was not a good year for cheap things but that we were equally cheap in 1770 and 1890.

 Here is the cfp, if you haven’t already received it: https://printinghistory.org/call-proposals-2017/

International Conference on Buddhist Manuscript Cultures, January 2017


Friday afternoon some of the participants of the International Conference on Buddhist Manuscript Cultures visited our department and Martin Heijdra, Director of The East Asian Library and the Gest Collection, introduced them to a few treasures at Princeton University Library. The conference, which continues through Sunday, is sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Mount Kuaiji Buddhist Association, GS Charity Foundation, and Princeton University’s Buddhist Studies Workshop, Tang Center for East Asian Art, Program in East Asian Studies, and Department of Religion.

Here is a taste of what they saw. For more information, see the website: http://csr.princeton.edu/buddhistmanuscriptcultures2017/

 

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